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Breath & Shadow

A Journal of Disability Culture and Literature

Summer 2015

Volume 12 Issue 3

 

 

DIABETES VERSUS MOM'S BROWNIES

By Ruth Z. Deming





No, it's not in the family


no, I'm not overweight


no, I don't drink soda or eat Tastykakes.


It was the lithium that did it


ruined my kidneys


those impeccable filters


that keep our insides clean


Up on the table at Einstein


out like a mummy,


my daughter Sarah's kidney was


funneled into my belly


Urine now, pure as a


Michelob on Tap, but


something unforeseen


happens: my prednisone


and Prograf, transplant meds,


block secretion of insulin.


I am now a person with diabetes


whose drug of choice


is a needle filled with crystal-clear


tear-drops of insulin


the poet cries silently


for herself, drawing blood


seven times a day, injecting in


belly, upper arm, tush and thigh


Mom, a baker all her life, has


found at ninety-two a new recipe


for brownies. "Which do you want?"


she asks, standing over her pan


"A corner one or one from the middle?"


"Both, please," I say from the table.


"And a dollop of whipped cream with


Kahlua."


I go into the dining room, where,


unseen and burning with shame


I inject another ten units.


What we don't see is a cup of


granulated sugar circulating in my


blood stream, somersaulting,


catapulting, doing cartwheels of


joy.


Off come the toes


then the feet


the eyes grow blind


the mind slows


and everything goes


It's worth it! I shout.


It's worth it, for


mother's new


brownies.






Ruth Z. Deming has been published in literary journals including Metazen, Mad Swirl, and Eunoia Review. A psychotherapist and mental health advocate, she runs New Directions Support Group for people and families affected by depression and bipolar disorder. She lives in Willow Grove, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.










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